Design, CG Graphics & Inspiration

3D printed food. The future of cooking

The concept of 3D printing is a relatively new concept in print technology. Although this concept started to take shape much earlier, the actual term of 3D printing was heard for the first time in 2010. The process involves using 3 axis namely the x, y and z as opposed to only x and y in a conventional 2D printing. Generally 3D printers are being used for printing out mechanical plastic parts commonly for commercial as well as recreational use.

3D printed food

Today the concept of 3D printing has started to gain monumental success with organizations like Boeing and Airbus industries successfully producing airplane parts with 3D printers. NASA sent over a 3D socket wrench printing file to the international space station, where it was downloaded and the first socket wrench was printed out of a 3D printer in outer space.

The process of 3D printing holds the key to the future and promises many new innovations which could benefit and influence practically every industry. 3D printing is quickly changing human behavioural patterns and the way we see and perceive things. A few years back in 1985 a blockbuster movie “Back to the Future II” was released. I remember seeing the movie on cable. It showed how the McFly family uses an appliance called the Hydrator to re-hydrate a button sized de-hydrated pizza into a freshly made pizza within a few seconds.

On similar lines the Star Trek series featured a gadget called the “food synthesizer” or a “replicator” used for creating on demand food within seconds. Who would have thought 30 years back on seeing such science fiction movies that 3D printing would bring us in close proximity with such possibilities. Yes, you have read me correctly; hold your breath as a 3D food printer could be an integral part of your kitchen sooner than you might think.

NASA has already started exploring the possibilities of 3D food printing in outer space and is funding projects for finding such solutions. NASA plans to explore such possibilities to colonize the red plant and enable astronauts to print out their own food, as sending payloads of food from the earth takes years and months and costs a lot of money.

A few private ventures in the meantime are already up to the task of providing 3D food printing solutions. A Spanish company by the name of Natural Machines is almost ready to launch its 3D food printer named “FOODINI” by mid 2015. Pretty soon you could be printing out a pizza for lunch and cookies for your evening cup of coffee. The company plans to establish 3D food printers as standard equipment in home kitchens pretty soon, just like a microwave.

3d food

FOODINI is capable of printing out real food made from fresh ingredients prepared before the printing process. It can easily print out otherwise complicated dishes like Pasta, Chocolates, Cookies, Pizza, Ravioli etc. in the quickest possible time. It features variable printing speeds to initiate the cooking process depending on the instructions passed on to it through the internet. A recipe can be selected by the user from the device touch screen or can be sent via internet. The raw materials like dough, sauce and cheese are put in its stainless steel capsules and then FOODINI adorns the chef cap and takes over preparing your meal from scratch. It first lays out the layer of dough and then subsequent layers of sauce and cheese to prepare a pizza for you.

The device has also been designed to be space saving and measures just 17 inches in width and 18 inches tall. The weight of the appliance is roughly around 30 pounds. The price of FOODINI is expected to be around 1300 US$, which is pretty steep. But you know how it happens with technology. As soon as more competition arrives, the prices would come down to almost half in no time. The company is expecting a huge demand for the product and plans to sell 1000 units in the first go.

foodini printer

Much like Natural Machines, another German company named Print2Taste Bocusini has come up with its own version of a 3D food printer which uses inkjet like technology with pre-filled syringes of food materials in paste form, much like ink cartridges and a printhead. The company also plans to introduce a kit for converting an existing 3D printer into a food printer. This 3D food printing technology seems to have advanced way ahead before anyone could have anticipated.

In conclusion, although the concept of 3D food printing might be in its early evolutionary phase, it promises a lot of innovation for the future. I am thoroughly convinced that 3D food printing will never be able to replace good old conventional cooking, but it is surely a fresh new concept which provides a good option for people who are generally averse to the idea of cooking food themselves due to either lack of skill or shortage of time. The companies which are developing these 3D food printers are targeting not just home users but also professional chefs and hotels for the creativity which 3D food printers can offer. It could turn out to be a concept which could re-invent our food and our eating habits. Only time will tell as to what these 3D food printers are able to achieve, but our dining tables are sure to look different in the future.

You can download some free 3d printable models for your food printing on 3DExport Marketplace.

  • Kristy Bernales,
  • March 12, 2016


Kristy Bernales started perusing her career as a web designer after obtaining a Diploma in 3D animation from abroad animation school. She provides freelance consultation for animation learning students. Read her unique posts on Facebook or Twitter.

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